Buckland Abbey Cross

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Location:  Standing in the garden of Buckland Abbey, near the barn.

O/S Grid Ref:  SX/48778/66765       Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-):  -4.13280/50.48113

Map location:  Click here to view map.

Purpose:  Not known.

Size:  Not yet measured. 

Information:  This granite cross shaft was found during the demolition of a property opposite the City Museum, in Tavistock Road, Plymouth. The shaft is square at its base and chamfered above, where it becomes octagonal in section.  It tapers slightly upwards and there is a dowel hole in the top of the shaft.  After being found, it was kept in a yard behind the museum for some time, before being sited in its current position in the Abbey gardens.

Buckland Abbey was founded in 1278 and was the last, and most westerly, Cistercian monastery to be built in medieval England and Wales. For over 250 years, the monks who farmed the vast estate lived in the peaceful solitude of the Tavy valley. The Dissolution of the Monasteries, during the reign of Henry VIII, saw Buckland sold to Sir Roger Grenville in 1539.  It was Grenville who began to modify the abbey into a house and home and, later, he sold the estate to Sir Francis Drake, the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.  The estate remained in the Drake family for around 400 years until, following a fire in 1938, it was sold to Captain Rodd, who presented it to the National Trust in 1948. 

The Abbey garden itself was mainly landscaped in the 1950s and features camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias.  From here, you can see right across the valley to the woodland which stretches down to the river Tavy. The Cider House and its gardens were purchased back into Trust ownership in 2011.  The tower is thought once to have been part of the Abbot's lodgings, originally built in the 15th century.  The property has been open to the public since 1951 and today's visitors can also enjoy a stroll around the 650 acre estate. 

To the north east of the abbey church, the rising ground contains three quarries from which the shillet (Upper Devonian slate) was extracted for the construction of the abbey.  Along with the nearby Abbeys of Tavistock and Plympton, Buckland Abbey was at the western end of the Abbot's Way track that runs across the southern moor, from Buckfast Abbey. 

Our thanks go to Robert Noakes for supplying the photo and bringing this cross to our attention.